Taxpayers’ total contribution to military is close to 40 cents of every dollar

APRIL 8, 2004 | National Priorities Project

Nearly Half of Every Tax Dollar Goes to Military, National Debt

NORTHAMPTON, MA – April 8 – As April 15 approaches and people prepare to pay their 2003 income taxes, they should know that nearly half of every dollar they owe will be used to support military spending and interest on the national debt. Military spending in 2003 required 29 cents of every income tax dollar, with the debt taking another 20 cents, according to the National Priorities Project.

By comparison, education and veterans benefits receive only four cents of every income tax dollar, slightly ahead of nutrition (three cents), housing (two cents) and natural resources (two cents). Less than a penny of each dollar will fund job training programs. The only budget category besides military spending and the debt to receive more than five percent of the income tax dollar is healthcare (20 cents).

The average household paid $6,548 in federal income taxes in 2003. Of this, $1,928 went to military and defense, $1,295 to pay interest on the debt, and $1,287 for healthcare. Only $249 from the average household funded education, $233 for veterans’ benefits, $176 for nutrition, $147 for housing and $117 for natural resources.

Citizens can get a breakdown of how their individual tax payments are spent by visiting the Internet website of the National Priorities Project (NPP) at Visitors to the website can also find the impact of federal tax policy in all 50 states and 190 cities nationwide.

“As the national debt continues to rise, more and more of our taxes will have to go toward paying interest, leaving even less money for such critical needs as the environment and education,” says Greg Speeter, NPP’s executive director.

Speeter adds that nearly half of the payments on the national debt, or nine cents, goes toward interest on past military expenditures, meaning that taxpayers’ total contribution to military and defense is close to 40 cents of every dollar. “The United States spends almost as much on military and defense as the rest of the world combined. When you add the cost of the war in Iraq, there is little money left for such critical needs as natural resources and the environment — less than two cents of every tax dollar.”

The non-partisan National Priorities Project shows how national tax and spending policies impact local communities and states across a broad range of issues. NPP, a non-profit organization, aims to help people respond to federal decisions that affect their daily lives.

Leave a comment